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Changes to SEN school places in independent schools

What is changing?

There has been a change to the way placements for children and young people (aged 0-25 years old) are arranged in special schools that aren't managed by the Council.

These changes will affect any new placements made after 1 February 2016, and any changes to current placements such as when a young person changes school. 

This includes day, weekly and termly boarder, and full residential placements.

There will be no change for those who are already in special schools.

The new process - how school places will be decided?

The Council will use a 'Framework' which lists schools and colleges that have demonstrated that they can meet the standards that the Council has set.

All settings in the Framework will offer the same quality of learning and support.

Each setting will provide core services alongside additional services which will be 'tailor made' to meet each individual's specific needs.

The Council will then:

  1. Identify what type of support is needed for the child using their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) or Statement of Special Educational Need.
  2. Send the information to the Framework of special schools to see if they can meet these needs. If a young person would like to go to a school that isn't on the framework, this school can still be contacted at this point to see if they can support the young person's needs.
  3. Decide which school is best suited to the individual's needs.

Can I have my preferred place?

Your preferred choice will be taken into consideration. The Council does not have to make a placement at your preferred school if:

  • It would not be suitable
  • The placement could not manage the child or young person because of the needs of the people already going to that school or college
  • Other schools or colleges are able to meet the young person's needs

If the Council decides not to support you to go to the school or college that you have chosen, we will discuss this with you before making a final decision.

Personal Budget

Parents may decide to ask the Council for some money known as a 'Personal Budget'. This will be paid directly to the school to buy more services to help support the young person in addition to the services already provided.

This will included in Section J of your child or young person's EHC Plan and will be discussed with you when the Plan is being prepared. 

Why is it changing?

We need to offer high quality education to young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) whilst also ensuring the most efficient use of our limited public resources.

In order to achieve this, South Tyneside Council works as part of a group called NE12+ Collaborative which consists of 11 other councils in the North East, health colleagues, legal colleagues, SEN managers, schools and colleges.

Get in touch

We know that these changes may raise some questions with parents, carers and young people.

We are working with local Parents' Forums across the North East region to discuss the process and make sure parents/carers can put forward their views on these changes.

For more information contact Helen Hutchinson (Commissioning Officer) by email:helen.hutchinson@southtyneside.gov.uk


View the full NE12+ Collaborative document on these changes: 

Changes to SEN school places in independent schools223.85KB


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